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Remove trade barriers – Geingob

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) must work towards removing all trade barriers among African countries in order to realise the dream of a prosperous Africa, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Hage Geingob said at the 18th ARSO general assembly, last week.
“I call upon you as the continent’s technical quality infrastructure experts to strengthen ARSO with the view to remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade among African countries in order to bring to fruition the dreams of the founders of the African Union of a prosperous and integrated Africa. Let this meeting serve as the catalyst for a quicker and logical renewal and speedy development of the continent,” Geingob said in a speech delivered on his behalf.
ARSO is a regional standards body which was formed by the AU and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA ) in 1977. The organisation’s main aim is to develop tools for standards development, standards harmonisation and implementation of these systems to enhance Africa’s internal trading capacity, increase the continent’s product and service competitiveness globally, and uplift the welfare of African consumers as well as standardisation forums for future prospects in international trade referencing.
The Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) is a member of ARSO. According to Dr Geingob, the NSI joined other standardisation bodies in order to deliberate on the state of standardisation in Africa and to map the way forward.
Namibia is also represented at the International Organisation for Standardisation and the NSI is part of the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
International standards can facilitate world trade by effectively removing  technical barriers to  trade, leading to new market opportunities and economic growth, Geingob said.
“International standards provide industry and users with the framework for achieving economies of design, greater product and service quality, increased interoperability of  products, and improved production and delivery systems. At the same time, international standards also encourage an improved quality of life by contributing to safety, human health and the protection of the environment,” the Minister explained.
The 18th ARSO general assembly was held under the theme ‘African integration through Knowledge Tooling and Standards as the Pillars for a Green Economy’ and was attended by standardisation bodies from across the continent.

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